Sport Cricket BBL: Thunder upset Strikers to advance to challenger final

BBL: Thunder upset Strikers to advance to challenger final

Got him: Daniel Sams of the Sydney Thunder (L) celebrates the dismissal of Phil Salt of the Adelaide Strikers. Photo: AAP
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Sydney Thunder have advanced to the BBL challenger after notching a fighting eight-run win over the Adelaide Strikers in the knockout at Adelaide Oval.

After restricting the Thunder to 7-151, the Strikers looked in firm control at 3-115 before staggering to 9-143 thanks to a withering 6-28 collapse.

The run out of vice-captain Alex Carey (28) via a direct hit from desperate, diving Thunder captain Callum Ferguson sparked the terminal collapse, Rashid Khan and Matt Short duly departing for ducks.

With 34 required off the last three overs, Chris Tremain sent down four wides in a ragged 18th over which cost 16 before Daniel Sams (3-23), the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, swung the momentum back the Thunder’s way, sending Michael Neser (12) and Peter Siddle (duck) packing.

Then, when Jon Wells (34), the Strikers’ last hope, edged behind the first ball of the 20th over, the result was beyond doubt.

Phil Salt (5) fell to a sharp chance from Alex Hales early before Jake Weatherald (18) holed out.

Captain Travis Head looked fluent before chopping spinner Jonathan Cook (2-16) on before Wells joined Carey in the middle.

The pair placed the Strikers in the box seat before Carey’s run out turned the contest on its head.

Earlier, Hales clubbed five sixes in his electric 59 off 35 balls, his fourth half-century from his past five outings. Ferguson (1) was unluckily adjudged lbw to Siddle (2-21) with replays confirming it was going over.

The rub of the green remained with Siddle when a ricochet off his heel from a full-blooded Chris Morris onto the stumps drive saw Arjun Nair (18) caught short at the non-striker’s end.

Siddle then yorked Sams in the 20th over.

The Thunder will tackle the Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Thursday, with the winner progressing to the title decider against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG next Saturday.